Kia marked its entry in India in 2019 and tasting the initial success, the carmaker has managed to cement its position promptly with three models in its portfolio. Along with healthy sales, Kia also aims to offer a complete contactless, paperless aftersales, and personalised vehicle service ownership experience with its 260+ touchpoints.
The recent addition to the brand’s line-up is the Sonet that has set a new benchmark in the popular compact SUV segment. It offers three powertrains and five transmission options to choose from. We have driven the 1.0-litre turbo petrol guise with the iMT gearbox and you can watch our video embedded below.
Soon after its India launch, the Sonet Diesel Manual became a part of our long-term garage and last month clocked 10,000kilometres on the odo, indicating a visit to the service centre for its third free service. Kia has facilitated a pick-up and drop service for the vehicles that are due for service. Alternatively, there's also the conventional method of taking the car for service by self. We have covered both these aspects as a part of our Kia Service Centre experience, and here's everything in detail.
Pick-up and drop service
For availing the pick and drop service, we booked a service appointment on the Kia Link mobile application, opted for the ‘Pick and Drop Service’, and filled in the requisite details. This was swiftly followed by a confirmation call along with the driver details for the availed service.
On the assigned date and time, we received a tracking link that enabled us to locate the driver’s whereabouts. The driver reached the informed address, introduced himself, and shared documents like company ID and visiting card. Further, the car was inspected for exterior and interior damages. The maintenance work to be carried out was duly noted by him with the odometer reading on the app that is connected to a central server.
After thorough sanitisation of touchpoints and application of protective kit on the steering wheel, gear lever, hand brake, and the driver seat, the driver began his journey from our premises to the designated service centre. This could again be monitored by a map-based live tracking link received on the mobile phone. On reaching the service station, the task was taken over by the service advisor. SMS alerts at various stages kept us informed of the progress.
Once the necessary repairs, service, washing, and sanitisation were completed, the driver delivered the car back to the same address, again covered by mobile-based live tracking. The completed scope of work was explained by the driver with the seat, air condition, and the steering wheel back to the same preferred setting. The service appointment ended with the soft copy of the final invoice on the app and an option to pay for it through digital channels.
Bringing your car to the Service Centre
Since the modern era of car ownership, the traditional way has always been to take it to the service centre and leave it there or wait there and collect it once the work is completed. It’s a tried and tested thing for car owners much like wearing your seat belt whenever you are in the car.
New yet same
While it may seem a bit out of place in this pandemic era, the existence of this process is for two very good reasons. The first is that car ownership is still a luxury in India with many buyers having to invest significantly to buy the car. This means there’s a certain level of involvement that owners would have when it comes to maintaining their vehicles.
The second is a more recent one where many car owners have gone in for the chauffeur-driven experience and thus a large part of the car’s running is in the hands of the driver. This means the driver accompanies the car wherever it goes, especially to the service centre.
If you have come this far, then you have already read the part on how the Kia ‘Pick-up and Drop’ system works.
To begin the service experience, we booked an appointment using the Kia Link App and here selected the option to take the car to the service centre. Accordingly, we chose a date and time at which we would reach the service centre.
As is the norm in this era of the new normal, once we arrived we were temperature checked, offered sanitiser, and our appointment was checked off the day’s pre-set list via a scan of the car’s RFID tag.
Once the car had been entered into the system, we were asked to park at a pre-defined space and exit the vehicle for the service advisor to take over from this point. Like the process in the pick-up and drop service, the vehicle was checked, documented, sanitised, and plastic covers were placed on the driver’s seat, gear knob, hand brake, as well as on the steering wheel.
After the car’s sanitisation, the service advisor (all masked and gloved up) brought out his tablet and began an inspection of the car both inside and outside. The exterior check included things like an inspection for dents and scratches while the interior check looked for the same inside the cabin. The entire process was paperless and involved the service advisor entering the information on his tablet which was linked to a central server.
The checking then moved on to the engine where apart from a visual inspection, fluid levels of various types were also examined and recorded for the purpose. The final part of the pre-service inspection involved the car being lifted on a ramp and the underbody inspection via a pre-set method and course.
After the car’s inspection, the service advisor led us to a waiting lounge where we were briefed on the service process, timeline, and most importantly an estimated cost of the service. We have detailed the cost and the entire process of the third free service that the Sonet underwent in our service report and you can read about that here.
Once the service process had been completed, we were brought back out and the service advisor showed us in detail each of the repairs and inspections that had been performed on the car as a part of the scheduled maintenance.
As a part of the complete service process, an OBD device was connected to the vehicle and a complete diagnostic process was run for the vehicle.
Test run, Wash, and Final Invoicing
Once the service process had been completed and the service advisor had shown us everything that had been done, we were taken on a test drive with the service advisor where we were once again briefed on the repairs and service that had been done to the car. We returned to the service centre and the car was washed, sanitised, and fumigated before officially being handed back to us.
After the entire process had been completed, we sat down with the service advisor in the lounge once again and were briefed on the service costs and everything that had been carried out on the car. Once we completed the payment process via the digital method, we were signed out of the system and allowed to leave the service centre.
The entire process and experience of getting our Sonet serviced at the Kia’s Service Centre was transparent, efficient, and was completed in a timely manner. The use of the Kia Link app for booking service appointment, pick-up and drop service, and paying digitally added to the overall convenience. If you do have any doubt or questions, do reach out to us and we'd be happy to answer them.
Words - Venkat Desirazu and Jay Shah
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi